Harriet McInerney

Photo of Harriet McInerney

Department of Theology and Religion
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

PhD title: A critical examination of the sexual and religious lives of bisexual+ Church of England 18- to 25-year-olds
Supervisors: Dr Karen Wenell and Dr Sarah Hall
PhD Theology and Religion

Qualifications

  • BA (Hons) Theology and Religion (University of Birmingham), 2018
  • MA Theology and Religion (Durham University), 2019

Biography

From 2015 to 2018 I studied for a Bachelor’s degree at the University of Birmingham in Theology and Religion, graduating with a 2:1. My dissertation focused on the secularization of contemporary British society, with a specific focus on the rise and fall of religious belief in the British Armed Forces. In 2018 I moved to Durham to study for a Master’s in Theology and Religion, graduating with a Merit. In preparation for my doctoral research, my Master’s dissertation focused on the way LGBT+ Church of England university students created a relationship between their sexuality and their faith, with a specific focus on the impact of worshipping in two churches. I chose to return to Birmingham, my alma mater and home city, to begin my doctoral research. I specifically chose to focus my studies on the bisexual+ community, as I believe that in LGBT+ theological study, the ‘B’ is often ignored.

Alongside my topic of study, I am interested in the following areas; religion and LGBT+ issues in defence, Relationships and Sex Education and Religious Education in the UK secondary school system, and religious communities in South Wales.

Research

My research focuses on the sexual and religious identities of individuals who identify under the bisexual umbrella and worship within the Church of England, between the ages of 16 to 25. In order to understand how these identities develop, I have chosen to focus on the lived experiences of these individuals, alongside the accessibility of Church of England policy documents, specifically those that make a reference to bisexuality. Most of my research will be undertaken via qualitative semi-structured interviews, with two different groups. The first group will consist of both scholars and clergy involved with the recent Living in Love and Faith (2020) project, published by the Church of England. The second group will involve those mentioned in the title of the thesis. Through these interviews, I am hoping to build a picture from both the ‘bottom up’ and the ‘top down’ of how Church policy is perceived by those reading, and those writing, and how the accessibility of this policy affects those it is written about. I also hope to find out how bisexual+ Christians ‘live out’ their lives, and bring these two aspects of their identity together.

Other activities

Bisexual Research group, member, 2020 – present

Culture and collections

Schools, institutes and departments

Services and facilities